20. A Baby Moose in Need
Some animals are known to have excellent memories. We typically hear of elephants having great memories or when a domesticated cat goes missing it’s often expected that they will know their way back home. From this story though, it’s clear that there are many more animals who have the ability to remember and never forget the kind deeds a human may have done for them.
19. Who is Erikas Plucas?
When a baby moose found herself abandoned and in need, one man in Lithuania took it upon himself to nurse her back to health. And now that she’s grown up, the animal repays his kindness in the most amazing way. This man was Erikas Plucas a local of Čekiškis, a small rural town in Panevėžys County, Lithuania.
18. The First Encounter
The story of the later inseparable duo begins when Erikas came home one day to a rather unusual sight – a baby moose lying abandoned right outside of his gate. The little female moose couldn’t have been more than 2 weeks old.”The first sight of her was heartbreaking,” Plucas, told The Dodo. “She was starved, dirty, sad, her fur was infested with flies, and she was so terrified of me when she first saw me but was too weak to run away, to even get up.” There was no other mooses in sight and no indication that she was able to go and find her mother. Erikas worried that if he left the little moose outside his gate that she would be picked up by hunters or attract other predators.
17. No Help for The Little Moose
With no mother moose in sight, he decided to quickly carry the frail, sick moose inside to figure out what he could do. After contacting the local animal control services, Erikas called some of his friends to ask for advice, but everyone told him he should just stay out of it.”I was met with hostility and contempt,” Erikas said as most moose are seen as pests or wild animals that can do much harm to property or crops. “‘It is illegal, you should not do it, let nature take care of it’ was all I heard,” he told The Dodo.
He didn’t let the negativity around him stop him from doing what was right.
16. Bringing the Baby Moose Home
Erikas refused to listen to the local animal control service members and his friends. He knew in his heart that he could not just walk away from the abandoned frail baby moose. While he waited for the local animal service members to arrive, he went out on his property and collected every kind of leaf he could find and got her some milk, and then tried desperately to get her to eat. He had the feeling that if she didn’t, then she would likely die, and he just couldn’t let that happen either.
15. Animal Services Visit
Soon, the local animal services members arrived to examine the baby moose. But according to Erikas, they only brought more bad news as he told The Dodo “Since here in Lithuania we do not have a special institution who would take care of wild orphan animals, they called local hunters and asked if they can take her,” Plucas said. “I knew it meant certain death for her, so I insisted I should keep the baby, and they agreed.”
14. Emma The Moose
Upon his decision to keep the frail baby moose, Erikas decided to give her a name. He would name here Emma. The first few weeks of caring for Emma were definitely a challenge, according to Erikas. Emma needed to be fed every four hours and would cry every time Erikas attempted to leave her side or go back into his house – and so often he slept next to her, sometimes even outside in his barn, just so she would always feel safe. “She was afraid of everything but me,” Erikas told The Dodo. Soon Emma would get comfortable, and when she did, her personality made its first appearance.
13. Making Emma a Home
As Emma grew stronger and bigger, Erikas knew she would not be able to live in his barn forever. He began taking her for frequent walks in the forest in hopes of reintroducing her to the wild and making her feel more at home with her surroundings. He tried to teach her what was dangerous and what was safe, and he even helped her find her own food in the forest so that one day she could do it on her own.
Emma showed signs of being terrified of going into the forest at first, but she loved Erikas and followed him everywhere he went. She got a little more adventurous each time the two would go into the forest. Soon, she began to wander off by herself.
12. Emma and The Forest
The older Emma got, the more comfortable she became with going into the forest by herself just like when she went on walks there with Erikas. Soon enough, it was finally time for her to live there full-time. She was finally ready to go back home.
11. Returning to The Forest
“I remember those first nights that she didn’t come home,” Erikas said. “Oh, I barely slept. But she grew up, I had to get over it. After all, it was my goal from the very beginning.” Erikas told The Dodo. Like a parent watching their child leave home for the first time, Erikas was very emotionally attached to Emma and wanted to be sure that she would be safe in the forest like he taught her to be.
10. Erikas’ Concerns
Erikas is still concerned that Emma might fall victim to some of the hunters in the area, just like her mother likely did, and so he spoke to all the hunters he could find to beg them not to hurt her.”I had some hunters over for them to see her as not just a nice, warm steak with potatoes and vegetables on the table, but as a very intelligent and loving animal,” Erikas said to The Dodo. “Some claimed they will put down hunting rifles for good, and some promised never to shoot a moose again,” he said.
9. Hunting in Lithuania
Hunting in Lithuania is quite common and is actually listed as a popular tourist activity on many tourism sites in Lithuania. According to Visit Lithuania: “Lithuanian forests are full of wild animals including deer, wild bears, beavers, elks and many others. One is allowed to hunt elks, wild bears, wolves, foxes, hares and birds, such as geese, ducks, and woodcocks.”
Even though most hunters promised to leave her alone, she was still in extreme danger.
8. Hunting Season
Hunting season starts in April, but the busiest months are November, December, and January. After the end of the season, the hunters have to register their trophies, as it’s necessary for the animal control. Hunting used to be a privilege of government members and large companies’ top managers but hunting with beaters and dogs is most popular now.
It’s cruel, but if Erikas can’t find Emma, he must wait to see if any hunter has reported her as a trophy.
7. Wild Animals of Lithuania
Currently, Lithuania has approximately 250,000 “large” wild animals or 5 per each square kilometer. The most prolific large wild animal in every part of Lithuania is the roe deer, with an estimate of 120,000 of them. They are followed by wild boars, estimated at around 55,000. Other large species found in the area are fallow-deer, and the largest one, the moose. It’s estimated that there are around 7,000 wild moose in the area, and because there are not dwindling numbers of these larger animals, the government allows them to be hunted in order to control the population sizes.
Even though Emma had beat the odds once, there was no guarentee for her survival.
6. Moose Hunting in Lithuania
Although hunting culture is different in Lithuania than it is in other places around the world such as Alaska, or Canada, where Moose are hunted as big game, for recognition and sport, there is still a cultural appeal to hunting moose in Lithuania. There is little to none regulation on hunting moose in Lithuania because they are often thought of as pests or involved in vehicle accidents. These laws make hunting moose anytime of year, for the most part, fair game.
5. Emma’s Visits
According to Erikas, even though Emma has grown into a full adult moose and is living back in the wild now, she still comes back to visit him and spends time with him every single day just as they used to do. They go swimming together and he gives her treats, and she shows how grateful she is to him for saving her life.
4.Emma and Erikas
Erikas notes that Emma never really warmed up to any other humans except himself, as he is almost like a father figure to the moose, and it’s clear just how much she loves him.”To me she is gentle and loving,” Plucas said. “She is very careful when we are playing, so she would not hurt me.” told The Dodo.
3. Emma’s New Found Life
According to her father figure Erikas, Emma is thriving in her new home in the wild, and will hopefully be happy and protected for a long time thanks to Erikas. She’ll still always come home to see him, and soon, she might have even more of a reason to visit as Erikas thinks she might be pregnant. With the possibility of little ones on the way, Erikas is eager to repeat the process of assisting the little ones to live out their lives safely in the forest.
2. Changed Forever
Overall, Erikas feels that his life is forever changed since the day he found the little and abandoned moose near his home, “I’m her world now and she is mine,” Plucas said. “Sometimes I wonder was it me who saved her, or is it the other way around?” Erikas tells the Dodo. It has not only brought him closer to his beloved friend Emma but closer to nature and the rest of the wildlife in his home country, Lithuania.
1. Erikas’ and Emma’s Story
The story of Emma and Erikas’ incredible bond has been spread around the world through Facebook posts, and various articles and it has touched the hearts of many. Many ask themselves how their lives could change the next time they are presented with the opportunity to care for a lost or abandoned wild animal. Afterall, it could bring oneself closer to nature.